As the seasons change, so too do our skincare and makeup routines. We do a little skincare review and makeup spring cleaning to transition from winter to spring and we have to reassess again as we go from spring to summer. Summer means scorching hot temperatures, humidity, and sweat. Basically, three of the arch enemies of any makeup lover (like myself). I have invested time on a flawless makeup look, only to have it melt off in the midday sun – not fun. Not anymore though. Not since I discovered some of the best makeup primers that keep my makeup intact through the summer heat.
What are makeup primers and what do they do?
Primers can be either a cream or putty applied under your makeup or a spray applied under and/or over your makeup. The main purpose of a primer is to extend the life of your makeup application. They can be used year-round but are especially important in summer as they help your makeup become sweat-proof.
What else do makeup primers do?
Primers are your makeup unsung heroes. Makeup primers work with your skin type to perform a combination of the following benefits:
- Even out skin tones
- Smooth skin texture and pores
- Control oiliness and shine
- Add moisture to dryer skin
- Add a radiant glow to skin
- Give you a more flawless canvas to work with
- Makeup does not smudge or flake-off
- Help to avoid breakouts caused by heat by creating a barrier between your skin and makeup.
Finding your best makeup primer
You must know your skin type in order to pick the best makeup primer for your face. If you are unsure of your skin type, you can take this skin type quiz. Once, you know your skin type, you can choose your primer based on the desired benefits you seek (see above for What else do makeup primers do?)
The makeup primers below are at the top of many lists and represent a wide variety of benefits, skin types, and price points. We also included both creams/puttys and sprays in case you have a preference (or you can use both for extra protection).
Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimising Primer
A gorgeous, silky primer with a lightweight velvety texture infused with vitamin A and E. Primes skin,and instantly blurs away imperfections, acts as a barrier, nourishes skin and helps makeup look and feel better, longer. This is one of the best primers IMO.
Benefit the POREfessional Pore Minimizing Makeup Mini Primer
A professional balm that minimizes the appearance of pores. The oil-free formula contains vitamin E, which is known to protect skin from free radicals. Quickly minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines and help makeup stay put with this priming phenomenon. The silky and lightweight formula can be worn under makeup to create a smoother-than-smooth canvas or used throughout the day to mattify shine and touch up problem areas.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer
A universal makeup primer for all skin types, this shine-stopping, pore-diffusing primer smooths the way for better foundation application and longer wear with an instant retouch effect. It’s not just pretty—it creates a filter-like blurring effect and melts instantly into all skin tones without a trace. Pro Filt’r works all day to help makeup last longer, feeling lightweight and comfortable, so you don’t have to worry about your skin—and you’ll be ready for anything.
Charlotte Tilburry Wonderglow
Create an effortlessly dewy look with this iconic beauty glow primer! Wonderglow creates a smoother-looking, candlelit, goddess-worthy canvas for your makeup. You can use it as a primer under your foundation OR on its own to turn around the look of tired, dull skin in a beauty flash! The supercharged, soft-focusing formula hydrates and blurs the look of imperfections and fine lines for a gorgeous, glowing finish. Soft focus glow primer with clinically proven results! 100% agree skin looks dewy and radiant. 100% agree skin looks younger. 100% agree Wonderglow provides an instant soft focus. Moisturizes for up to 24 hours!
Elf Luminous Putty Primer
This primer delivers a soft, radiant base for your makeup application. Infused with hyaluronic acid and vegan collagen to help plump and hydrate the skin. Velvety texture glides effortlessly over the skin, smoothing over imperfections for a poreless effect. The ultimate grip on makeup.
Elf Poreless Putty Primer
Perfect for those who want a poreless, flawless complexion. Grips makeup for all-day wear & a flawless finish. Infused with Squalane for optimal hydration. Smooth, velvety texture glides over skin seamlessly. Perfect for all skin types This was even featured in our makeup lover gift guide 2021.
Smashbox Photo Finish Setting Spray
A high-performing setting spray. Makes makeup transfer-proof & improves the wear up to 16 hours. Provides a weightless, comfortable feel that is never sticky or greasy. Perfect for all skin types. Vegan, cruelty-free & dermatologist-tested.
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
This legendary formula sets your makeup and locks in your look, so you’re good to go for up to 16 hours—no touch ups needed. With our patented Temperature Control Technology, this weightless vegan mist actually lowers the temperature of your makeup—from foundation and concealer to eyeshadow and blush—to lock it in place. The result? Smoother-looking skin and vibrant makeup that lasts all day (or night).
MAC PREP + PRIME FIX+
A lightweight water mist that gently soothes and refreshes skin and finishes makeup. Soothes and refreshes skin, hydrates skin, sets and improves the quality of wear of makeup up to 12 hours. Dermatologist tested, Ophthalmologist tested, Non-acnegenic.
MILK Makeup Hydro Grip Set and Refresh Spray
Use as a setting spray to lock in your look for up to 12 hours. Allow formula 1 minute to set makeup. Can also be used before makeup application to seal in skincare, prep, and hydrate. Reapply throughout the day as desired to refresh skin and revitalize makeup.
Do you wear primer year-round, spring/summer only, or do you not wear primer at all? If you do wear primer, what is your favourite primer? We are always interested in learning about new products. You never know when someone will introduce you to your new favourite product 😊